Expectations are as high as they have ever been for the Clemson Tigers going into the 2019 college football season.
After winning the national championship in dominant fashion, Dabo Swinney's Tigers are trying to extend their reign atop the sport with Trevor Lawrence in his second year under center.
Clemson is favored to win the national championship at +200 (bet $100 to win $200), and Lawrence is the Heisman Trophy favorite at +275, per Oddschecker.
While the Tigers have a key piece in Lawrence returning, they have plenty of spots on the depth chart to fill, and Saturday's spring game will give them a chance to look at players set for breakout seasons in 2019.
2019 Clemson Spring Game Info
Date: Saturday, April 6
Start Time: 2:30 p.m. ET
Live Stream: Watch ESPN or ESPN app
After battling with Kelly Bryant for the starting gig under center last spring, Lawrence is in full command of the top spot on the depth chart.
The leadership of the sophomore signal-caller will be relied upon as the Tigers build up their depth after experiencing losses at a few key positions.
Unfortunately, Lawrence will be without one of his top targets after wide receiver Amari Rodgers suffered a torn ACL during spring practice.
In 2018, he recorded 575 receiving yards on 55 receptions and produced four touchdowns through the air.
Saturday's spring game presents an early opportunity for a few players to fill the void left by Rodgers.
"It's a tough task but I had to have the mindset of a couple of guys go down, next guy up," he said. "I've got to be ready, learn, study, put the time in and be ready when my name is called."
Overton, Cornell Powell and T.J. Chase will be fighting for snaps in the slot role, which is depleted with Rodgers injured and Hunter Renfrow graduated.
Overton isn't a typical slot receiver with his 205-pound frame, but he's impressed the coaching staff, as co-offensive coordinator Tony Elliott noted, per Scott Keepfer of the Greenville News.
"Diondre Overton has been a pleasant surprise," Elliott said. "He jumped in there Day 1. He seized an opportunity. Between him, Cornell and T.J. we'll see who becomes the guy, but I'll tell you what, for a bigger guy he (Overton) has made the transition seamlessly so far."
While Rodgers' injury opened an unexpected hole on offense, the Tigers have been preparing to fill the gaps on the defensive line for most of the offseason.
With Austin Bryant, Christian Wilkins, Clelin Ferrell and Dexter Lawrence off to the NFL, the Tigers have to replace all four starting spots on the defensive line.
It's far from an easy task for defensive coordinator Brent Venables, but the Tigers have plenty of talent at the position.
Xavier Thomas, KJ Henry and Logan Rudolph are among the starting candidates on the edge, while Jordan Williams and Nyles Pinckney are the favorites to start on the inside, but the pair of defensive tackles are recovering from injuries.
That means we'll see plenty of inexperience at defensive tackle Saturday, and that comes with tempering expectations for now, as Venables told The Athletic's Grace Raynor.
He said: "As a staff, we had to be very intentional meeting that group where they're at, not expecting them to meet us where we're at, where we finished (in 2018), whether that's having to go a little bit slower or be a little more patient, be a little more encouraging."
Although the Tigers will be young on the interior, it's hard to feel bad for them since they have plenty of returners at other positions, such as linebacker Isaiah Simmons and safety Tanner Muse.
The growing pains will show Saturday in the first competitive action for some defensive linemen, but come fall, there will be plenty of trust in the unit to get the job done and help complete the Clemson roster in its quest to repeat as national champion.
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Statistics obtained from ESPN.com.